Council update, 22 June 2013

Hello, everyone:

Well, haven’t the last couple of days been something?!  Bow River flows blew the previous record away – 380 cubic metres per second in 1923 was replaced by yesterday’s 444 cubic metres/second.  We in Banff have been very lucky, and I know we’re all thinking of our friends in Canmore and Calgary.  Huge kudos to town and emergency services staff, who not only took care of Banff, but also pitched in providing necessary assistance for the much more serious situation in Canmore. And huge kudos to all the volunteers – the volunteer response was overwhelming!

I’ve been very impressed with the communication!  Between the constant updates on the Town’s website and the mayor’s top-notch work on Facebook and Twitter, no one needed to rely on the rumour mill – the real information was easy to access.  The most recent update that I’ve received, by the way, is that 93 south (Castle Junction to Radium) is now open to private vehicles and tour buses.

Still no way of knowing when the TCH will be available to the east.  And it is still important, of course, to stay away from the banks of all rivers, creeks and streams.

Astonishingly, in the midst of all of this, normal business continues.  And therefore, I know you’re anxious to hear about ...


Council meets Monday at 2 pm, and we’d love to see you in the gallery.  You can see the whole agenda package at this link:

Here are a few of the highlights:

2012 Housing Needs Assessment

The BHC board and staff, town staff, and the consultant have been working hard on this report, and now it’s coming to council.  You can see the background and the executive summary starting on page 14 of the package.  Key recommendations are listed starting on page 16 of the package.

The needs assessment points out that rental housing is our most pressing need and that accessible housing is an important and growing issue as more seniors remain in Banff after retirement.  The many key recommendations include:
• Improve data gathering and maintenance
• Continue to focus on encouraging density
• Focus the BHC’s work on rental housing
• Look to regional solutions
• Explore ways to increase enforcement of need to reside

Council is being asked to accept the report as information, and distribute it to key players in housing in the Bow Valley.

Fees for Commercial Development Allotment transfer and for transfer of existing Gross Floor Area

When these two bylaws came to council, one of the suggestions was the establishment of fees for these transfers.  Council is being asked to give first reading to the fees bylaws, and set a public hearing for July 8.  Voting for first reading does not mean that a council member intends to support the bylaw in the end.  It’s just the way to get it onto the council table for consideration.

Canada Day

Who doesn’t love Canada Day in Banff?  Starting on page 45, you can read a briefing on the events planned for this year, including the expected-to-be-popular tug of war between Banff council and Canmore council, with MLA Ron Casey calling the play-by-play.

Staffing for capital project management

Starting on page 47 of the package, you can see Engineering’s request for an additional person for the next three years, to help with an unusually heavy load of capital projects.  The report discusses the pros and cons of contracting this position out, versus doing the work in-house.  I’m inclined to agree that in-house is the way to go, but I will be asking whether this type of project position should perhaps be funded from the capital budget, rather than from operations.

Bridge for the bike trail along Norquay road

You’ve probably noticed the Legacy Trail extension work going on along Norquay Road.  Council had originally approved a bridge over 40-mile Creek, but the estimates for this came in higher than expected.  Administration has provided some information on options, starting on page 50 of the package.  I’d like to explore further the option of having cyclists cross the creek on a dedicated lane of the existing bridge.

Capital project update

Starting on page 55, you can see a description of every capital project the Town has scheduled in 2013, along with information, and often photos, of the progress.  There’s also a complete financial accounting. 


On Wednesday, the regular monthly board meeting for the Regional Transit Commission.  On Friday, the Banff Housing Corporation board meeting.  And a bunch of work on housing strategy.


This is Issue 119 of my council update, with six more to go.  Past issues can be seen as posts on my blog at  These updates reflect my personal opinions, and do not purport to be official communications from the Town of Banff or its Council.  As always, I welcome your comments and questions. 

All the best until next time -- Leslie